I have long admired women who seem to manage so well with multiple challenges—careers, well-behaved children, clean and tidy houses, wonderful marriages, immaculately and fashionably presented—high achievers in all areas of life. This, to me, seemed the ‘ideal’, and I didn’t think I measured up.
Then I read a description in Proverbs 31 of the Bible, presented as advice given by a mother to her son about what to look for in a wife: she is industrious, provides for her family, she’s a business woman, cares for the poor, is strong and wise … On one hand I was impressed with this ideal picture of womanhood, but on the other hand, if this was the standard, I was in big trouble!
How many of us have this ‘ideal’ that we strive to attain? Or, how many of us are just striving to be ‘normal’, let alone ‘ideal’? Even ‘normal’ feels like a challenge. And, anyway, what is ‘normal’? Where does ‘normal’ finish and ‘abnormal’ start?
There is a vulnerability we possess as mothers. Our self-worth is often fed or degraded by how well our children are doing in school, or how many birthday parties they are invited to, or how they are behaving in church. Sadly, other people also make judgements on our parenting, sometimes just on the personality of our children—heaven forbid you don’t have a dutiful, compliant child!
The Bible says that we are to love others as ourselves. But it is difficult to love yourself if the yard stick you use, shows you always falling short.
What happens if you don’t love yourself? How do you think this affects your relationships? Maybe it is time to take your self-worth to Christ and ask him how he sees you.
Christ is the great leveller. He sees with the eyes of a master jeweller. He called out people’s potential in all their facets and they rose to the challenge. He treated those deemed ‘abnormal’ by society as treasures. Once you meet Jesus, really connect with him, you will never be the same again. You will care less and less what other people think of you, and more and more what he thinks of you.
This Mother’s Day, give yourself a break. Don’t allow false perceptions to feed ‘The Mother Guilt’—which goes hand-in-hand with parenting and often womanhood. It is the alter ego that constantly chatters in our ears and reminds us where we are failing. Stop the negative self-talk. Embrace your uniqueness.
In Psalms 139 it says you are ‘…fearfully and wonderfully made…’ in all your differences, inadequacies, bad hair days, not coping with the kid days, not going to the soccer game days, blobbing out on the couch days—you are good enough! And once you grasp the healing and wholesome benefits of relationship with Christ, you can happily look the Proverbs 31 woman in the eye —and anyone else, for that matter.
(c) 'War Cry' magazine, 5 May 2018, pp3. You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.